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12 December 2013
Canada’s aboriginal “First Nations” have unexpectedly emerged as a potential force threatening to derail the plans of Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plans to turn western Canada into an energy powerhouse underwriting eastern Asia’s various demands for energy.
Who are these obstructionists?
The First Nations are the various Canadian aboriginal peoples who are neither Inuit nor Métis, with Ottawa currently recognizing over 630 First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
For decades Canada has belatedly dealt with issues as Pacific coastal natives sought treaties to spell out their relationship with the rest of the country. Accordingly, successive Canadian courts have ruled that in the absence of settled claims, the First Nations actually have rights and title to all aspects of traditional lands.
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